Islamic Unity - Weeding out divisive literature Part 3

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Jumada' al-Ula' 24, 1434 2013-04-05

Bismillah Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem. Alhumdulillah. Peace and blessings on Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam), his Noble Companions and Family. Dear Committed brothers, dear committed sisters,

To take the previous khutbahs a step forward and to surround this mentality of degrading or debasing all the way to kufr the other Muslim- this is not a character and it’s not a manner of those who understand Allah and His Prophet correctly; so on our way to Allah we are going to shed light on these characters who verbally denounce other Muslims as a first step in eliminating other Muslims. All of us are readers of Allah’s book, the faultless Qur’an, and there are too many ayaat in the Qur’an, (more than we can quote here in khutbah even though we will quote some of them by necessity; it’s not our way of delivering a khutbah to quote at length the ayaat of the Qur’an but in this case it is necessary to do so), to relay to you, the listeners, how the positive and the optimistic attitude in the Qur’an is towards Alladheena Aamanu. An ayah in the Qur’an says

إِنَّ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ يَهْدِي لِلَّتِي هِيَ أَقْوَمُ وَيُبَشِّرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ الَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ أَجْرًا كَبِيرًا

Indeed this Qur’an guides to what is most appropriate and it breaks good news to the committed Muslims that they shall have a tremendous reward (or) a voluminous reward. (Surah Al Isra’ verse 9)

Ayah number two in Surah Al Kahf

وَيُبَشِّرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ الَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ أَجْرًا حَسَنًا

… and it breaks good news to the committed Muslims who do as salihaat that they shall have a regard or a reward of perfection, a perfected reward (Surah Al Kahf verse 2)

Ayah number twenty five in Surah Al Baqarah says

وَبَشِّرِ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ

… and break good news to those who are committed to Allah’s power and authority and do His good will, to them they shall have a paradise or gardens under which rivers flow… (Surah Al Baqarah verse 25)

to the end of the ayah.

Ayah number two in Surah Yunus

وَبَشِّرِ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنَّ لَهُمْ قَدَمَ صِدْقٍ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ

… and give glad tidings or break good news to the committed Muslims, those who commit themselves Allah, that they will have a foothold of truth with their Sustainer… (SurahYunus verse 2)

Ayah 10 to 13 in Surah As Saff, (brothers, we don’t have the time to simply translate this ayah but at the end of it, it says

وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

… and express good news to the committed Muslims… Surah As Saff verse 13)

We’re sure you are familiar with these ayaat so we don’t have to really translate every one.

Another ayah

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ

نَحْنُ أَوْلِيَاؤُكُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ ۖ وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا مَا تَشْتَهِي أَنفُسُكُمْ وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا مَا تَدَّعُونَ

نُزُلًا مِّنْ غَفُورٍ رَّحِيمٍ

وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

Verily those who say our Sustainer is Allah and they proceed straight-forwardly their visitations will be with Angels who come to them and say “don't fear and don't grieve/feel sad…; We are your supporters or allies or reinforcement in this worldly life and in it you shall have what yourselves desire (or) wish (or) hope (or) imagine to have. An accommodation from He who always forgives and He is very Merciful.” Who has a better expression than he who calls upon or for Allah and does what is right and says I belong to Muslims. (Surah Fussilaat verse 30-33)

These ayaat- and as we said, there are plenty others in the Qur’an that run this general course- of course, have their details to them, they have their context and all of this; (but) without getting involved in all of this, when you read these scores of ayaat throughout the Qur’an you get the unmistakeable impression of expecting what is good from Allah as long as you say Ash hadu an laa ilaha illa Allah wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan Rasulullah and you spend your behavioural life, your effortful life (and) your labour intensive life in doing what you say (or) in translating your commitment (or) your iman to amal as salih; but then there comes a hadith- and you know from the many khutbahs that you’ve listened to from yours faithfully that we don’t dwell on a particular hadith- we dwell on the ayaat of the Qur’an and in that context we mention some hadiths; but in this case we are going to dwell on one particular hadith because this is one of the hadiths that these types of people- these mukaffireen or takfiriyeen whatever you want to call them- who accuse other Muslims of being Kafirs justify for their behaviour. It is called hadith iftiraaq al ummah (or) the hadith pertaining to the disbandment or the dispersion or the breakup of the Ummah. A hadith that has what they quote as being al firqa’ al naaji’ah, the saved faction or the redeemed faction.

The first general observation for anyone who wants to spend their time to go through the books of hadith to find this particular hadith will find that this hadith is quoted with different words and even contradictory words. The most popular quotation of this hadith- OK, what does this hadith say? These people who scramble around this hadith say that the Prophet said the Yahud were divided into seventy one factions and the Christians or the An Nasara were divided into seventy two factions and this Ummah will be divided into seventy three factions… Now, to trace the irreconcilabilities of the many quotes of this hadith in the books of hadith… For those Muslims who refer to As sihah as sit- the books of authentic or undisputable hadiths- this hadith was only mentioned in Sahih At Tirmidhi. It wasn’t mentioned in the rest of the books of hadith. One form of this hadith ends saying … all of them, these seventy three factions, are in the fire except one. Another rendition of this hadith says … all of them are in the fire except one and this one is al jama’ah. Here, when we listen to this word, those of us who have a sense of Islamic history will begin to detect that this word al jama’ah which came into circulation during the Umawi reign has some type of Umawi influence in it. For those of you who are not aware- the coining of the word Ahl As Sunnah wa Al Jama’ah is not Qur’anic phrase (and) it is not a Prophetic phrase. This phrase was put together when Mu’awiyah finally consolidated his power after the assassination of Imam Ali (radi Allahu anhu). This is the time when the wording Ahl As Sunnah wa Al Jama’ah came into vogue. Yet another formulation of this same hadith all of it begins the Yahud were divided into seventy one factions and the Christians or the An Nasara were divided into seventy two factions and this Ummah will be divided into seventy three factions… When we’re saying this to you, remember- dear brothers and sisters, committed Muslims- when you hear this these people who are amplifying this hadith nowadays are saying that the Prophet is saying this; as if the Prophet, (number one), is forecasting the failure of his Ummah more than the failure of Al Yahud and An Nasara?! We don’t think, having a Qur’anic mind and understanding Allah’s Prophet in his substantiated hadith is going to be glooming and dooming about his own Ummah?! Nevertheless, the connotations and the meanings of these quotes that we’re bringing you deliver that sense! He is saying … all of my Ummah is in the fire except one and that one represents what I am in addition to my companions. Here is another indicator- for those of you who have gone through Islamic literature there are two type of Muslims that go on alert. When the word as’haabi is used the Shi’i Muslims go on alert and when the word Ahl Muhammad or Ahl Al Bayt is used in a particular hadith the Sunnis go on alert .There’s no reason for anyone to go on alert. The only thing here is you try to place whatever that hadith is in the context of the Qur’an; if it fits in that context you begin to think through it, if it doesn’t fit into that context don’t sweat over the small things!

Another ending of this same hadith says- you see how many endings this beginning of the hadith has?!- … all of them are in the fire except as sawaad al a’dham- an overwhelming majority. Now, if you’re thinking about the hadith, this would mean that the seventy two of them- because there is one that is redeemed, al firqa’ an najiah- are condemned to the fire. Now if you apply the description in the end of this hadith which means the overwhelming majority of the ummah is saved to the ones who are speaking today about this particular hadith to justify the description of kufr upon other Muslims you’d see that today this hadith contradicts them because they are not in the overwhelming majority of the Muslims. They never state it because they know that when they state these hadiths Muslims out there are not thinking! They can state a hadith like this that ends with … all of them are in the fire except the overwhelming majority of the ummah not knowing that they are contradicting themselves. We’re skipping some here. There’s a lot to the ending of this same hadith that begins in the same way but ends with different sentences. One of them says … all of them are in the fire except one… What is this one? He is describing it- Al jama’aat, al jama’aat.

Then he says in another hadith- the same hadith but another ending. … all of them are in the fire except one millah. When the word millah is used, it brings to mind our ignorance. Brothers and sisters, listen carefully- the word Ummah is a Qur’anic word, the word millah is a Qur’anic word, the word ta’ifah is a Qur’anic word, the word firqah is a Qur’anic word, the word nihlah is used- but who? You’ve heard these words before. We’re sure you’ve heard them many times but can you tell us (from) scanning the vocabulary of the Qur’an, the ayaat and the verified hadith what’s the difference between an Ummah and a millah? What’s the difference between a ta’ifah and a firqah? We venture to say that- with all due respect to the contemporary Ulema’ and with all due respect to the Ulema’ of the past- we don’t have a functional and an operational distinctive definition of these words; which goes to say to us we haven’t thought through the wording the ayaat and the wording of the ahadith. Then, if the other ahadith are saying … all of them are in the fire except one firqah this hadith is saying … all of them are in the fire except one millah, has anyone, especially these takfiris who right now have the microphones and they have the bank accounts and they also have the weapons, given these ahadith a second thought and explained what they mean? No! They’re just using them to justify their hostility and their warfare against those who they consider outside of their definition of who is al firqa’ an naji’ah.

Another one ends with, (we’re skipping some, we have to), … all of them, i.e. the seventy two factions of Islam, (that they tell us are doomed), in the fire are dhalalah… All of this has become dhalalah! … except the firqah of Islam wa jama’ata hum. What all the rest say- that they are al firaq al Islam. Once again you find here there is a political hand in the hadith if you can go back to the political time frame of the writing of this hadith and what was happening as far as Umawi and Abbasi control of the Muslims.

Now here is the kicker, (so to speak). One of these hadiths- you know, the same hadith we quoted at the beginning the Yahud were divided into seventy one factions and the Christians or the An Nasara were divided into seventy two factions and this Ummah will be divided into seventy three factions… and this is the way that this particular hadith ends … all of them, these seventy three factions, are in jannah except one. What happened? We ran across all these other ahadiths saying … all of them, these seventy three factions, are in the fire except one (but) this particular one says … all of them, these seventy three factions, are in jannah except one. Isn’t this contradictory? Some people who took it upon themselves to say the Prophet said this hadith are contradicting themselves! The body of hadith is a polluted body! We’re sorry to say this and it hasn’t been filtered yet. None! There hasn’t been a coordinated, serious, honest Islamic effort to filter these hundreds of thousands of ahadith that we have. We here are just zeroing in on just one particular hadith and coming up with these inconsistencies.

The raawis of this hadith are the following: Abu Hurairah, Anas ibn Maalik, Abdullah ibn Amr, Jaabir ibn Abdillah, Abdullah ibn Abbas, Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, Awf ibn Maalik, Amr ibn Awf, Abu Ad Darda, Waafilah ibn Al Asqa and Abu Ummah Al Bahili. These are the who we are told… You see, in the books of ahadith when a person- whether he is Al Bukhari or whether he is Muslim or whoever he is- want to bring us a hadith or write down for us that the Prophet said a certain statement they need narrators. So the original narrators we are told by these writers of the hadith- whether is it Al Bukhari or Muslim or An Nasa’i or Abu Dawud or ibn Maajah- did not quote this hadith. It’s only At Tirmidhi who quoted this hadith. Let us mention, (before we forget), it’s only certain editions of At Tirmidhi that mentions this hadith. You can go to a certain edition of Sahih At Tirmidhi and you’ll not find the hadith in it! So when we say only At Tirmidhi mentioned this hadith it’s only some published editions which will have you think. What? Is someone playing around with the publications of these books of hadiths? It’s obvious in this case! It’s also been narrated as a hadith mawquf and a hadith mursal. Now you’re going to ask what’s the difference between a hadith that is mawquf and a hadith that is mursal? A hadith that is mawquf is a hadith that goes all the way to the sahabi but doesn’t go to the Prophet- the sahabi said and then he quotes the hadith but he doesn’t say the Prophet said. Al mursal is yet a weaker type of hadith that is quoted by at Tabi’i- it’s not even quoted by the sahabi or the Prophet. This hadith falls into these two other categories.

Then, (we don’t have the time, but we have the information- we simply don’t have the time), we’ll summarise to tell you all of the sequential narrative- (i.e.) so and so said that so and so said all the way back to the Prophet pertaining to this one particular hadith that is used to justify the kufr of other Muslims- all who narrated it had either a person who is either untrustworthy in that sequence or a person who is not reliable or a person who can only be quoted when others have already quoted the hadith. When we put all of this together we realise that this hadith is flawed. It should not be used or quoted by Muslims as a reliable hadith.

The scholars of old, not the contemporary scholars- the contemporary scholars are not showing us much courage when it comes to the body of hadith even though, (we want to tell you this, and this is on reliable authority), some of the highest ranking scholars scholars in Egypt about twenty or twenty five years ago had a get together and they said to themselves, (I may have mentioned this to some of you but I haven’t mentioned this in a khutbah), after discussing certain matters “we have a problem in the literature of hadith.” Remember, they dare not say this in public. “We have an issue with the body of hadith that we have and our primary problem is concentrated in the riwayaat of Abu Hurairah.” No one disagreed. Among themselves they recognised the problem that has to be worked on. OK- someone recognises a problem. No one says Abu Hurairah is ma’sum or Abu Hurairah is a person who doesn’t make mistakes or this sort of thing. OK- we have a problem so let’s fix the problem. So they reach this point- “OK-we have to fix a problem.” But then they know very well the weight of traditions and the weight of history and culture so they said “who qualifies from among us to begin a task of scrutinising the hadiths of Abu Hurairah”, meaning some of them are valid and sahih hadiths and others are not- because it’s sort of taken for granted from the build-up of these traditions and the ritualistics that have gone down from generation to generation (that) if someone is going to take on Abu Hurairah he’s probably going to run into this brick wall of traditions, he’s going to discredit himself and nothing is going to happen. So with this in their internal thoughts they looked at each other and nominated one of them, (may Allah bless his soul, he has passed away maybe about eighteen years ago or so). They said “you are the only one who is able to do this.” He looked at them and said “but I’m sorry. I have to apologise. I’m somewhat in my latter years in life and this is too much of a task for me alone.” This hadith the Yahud were divided into seventy one factions and the Christians or the An Nasara were divided into seventy two factions and this Ummah will be divided into seventy three factions… (and then we quoted for you the many last sentences of this hadith; some of them irreconcilable and some of them contradictory and some of them don’t make sense), is known as a hadith ahaad. It is not a hadith mutawaatir. We’re saying this for those who are in this technical area, (it’s alright if we part company with some of you here (because) we’re available to you after the khutbah), by consensus of the people who narrated the ahadith and those who worked their life in the area of hadith the hadith ahaad is not relied upon in what are called matters pertaining to belief. That means (that) if you accept it or you don’t accept it, it’s not going to harm the feature of imaan in you. The ahadith ahaad are considered in what are known as practical matters, not ideological or theoretical or theological matters. Whether you accept or don’t accept the ahadith ahaad it doesn’t add or it doesn’t subtract from your imaani character.

Then this hadith in two other aspects of it- one aspect is the aspect of Ummah. Please brothers and sisters- when you come across the word Ummah, this is a Qur’anic word. In the Qur’an when Ummah is attached to the noun that refers to you, the committed Muslims, it is a positive word.

إِنَّ هَٰذِهِ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَأَنَا رَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُونِ

And, indeed, this is your ummah, [when it is], one ummah; and I am your Sustainer- and, thus, conform unto Me. (Surah Al Ambiya’ verse 92)

See- there’s a positive connotation to the word Ummah. When the Prophet uses the word Ummah and relates it to himself it comes also in a favourable relationship. When he says as a shafa’ah when he is to present his words of pleading with Allah he says Ummati Ummati, my Ummah, my Ummah; but when just the word Ummah is used, it doesn’t necessarily mean of deliver a positive meaning. So in this hadith we have a contradiction in the way the word Ummah is used in this hadith, and this Ummah will be divided into seventy three factions… This is a negative reference or inference for the word Ummah. In the Qur’an and in the other ahadith when this happens there is a positive inference and reference of the word Ummah. So please, whenever this word Ummah is bounced around in certain hadiths or in certain quotations and take in mind the way it is used in the Qur’an because that’s the reference point.

Then the other one is (that) this hadith brings up what has been and what continues to be- this is not the place to solve this issue but we just want to bring it to your attention- a controversial issue, i.e. does the Prophet know the details of al ghayb? We can quote ayaat in which we are told that.

عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ فَلَا يُظْهِرُ عَلَىٰ غَيْبِهِ أَحَدًا

إِلَّا مَنِ ارْتَضَىٰ مِن رَّسُولٍ

It is Allah Who is the One Who knows the domain of the unknown; He does not have anyone access that ghayb except to those who He is satisfied with of Messengers… (Surah Al Jinn verse 26-27)

Another ayah

قُل لَّا يَعْلَمُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ الْغَيْبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ

… no one knows al ghayb except Allah … (Surah An Naml verse 65)

There are other ayaat and however way you fall in this, the question here when we’re talking about this particular hadith is that if the Prophet of Allah knew in his heart and in his mind that in the centuries to come or in the generations to come his followers are going to be divided, did he know exactly the number of these divisions and these factions? This is a very critical issue. Then, what describes a faction? What is it? What makes a faction, or this firqah that is used, among the Muslims? The word firqah which roughly translates into a faction- what makes a particular group of Muslims a faction? No one has ever told us. For some of you who are familiar with Islamic history, Al Ash’ari counted more than a hundred factions. Where does this place this hadith? Someone say that Al Ash’ari was lying?! Or does it somehow bring a question mark to your mind? Another historian, Ash Shahrastaani came and said there are seventy six. Ibn Hazm counted five. We don’t know if we mentioned this- of the scholars of old who discredit this hadith altogether- Ibn Hazm was one of them, Ibn Wazir the Yemeni scholar was another one. Of course, they did their research (and) they went into this in depth and then they said “this hadith is groundless, it’s baseless!” It’s the same hadith that right now is coming alive in the context of these civil wars when there are certain big interests in this world that want to see Muslims kill themselves. This is one of these hadiths that is used in that context.

Dear brothers, dear sisters, dear committed Muslims…

The world that we are in is not a world that recognizes our equality. The policies and the politics that are enforced today mean to pit us against each other. Unfortunately, because there are gaps in our Islamic knowledge, these people who are very busy seeing to it that we are fragmented to the optimum extent have studied who we are. If we don’t think about our own selves- and many of us don’t. This is one of the examples just cited for you in the first khutbah. We haven’t given a thought. (Has) anyone come and scrutinized one of these statements that makes a particular Muslim group feel that they are above everyone else? Now, when someone quotes this hadith that was quoted in the khutbah about the seventy three factions that were projected by Allah’s Prophet to become the fate of his Ummah except for one it gives them a sense of superiority. They become biased and then they become self righteous- they are the only ones. What happened? The ayah describes Allah’s Prophet

رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

… as a mercy unto the peoples and the domains of the world. (Surah Al Ambiya’ verse 107)

When you ferment this hadith in your mind you begin to think there’s a self-righteous distance between whoever or whatever that definition of the redeemed faction is and the rest. There’s not a compatibility between the way these takfiris understand it today and the general ayah that sweeps it aside.

رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

… as a mercy unto the peoples and the domains of the world. (Surah Al Ambiya’ verse 107)

مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ اللَّهِ ۚ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ

Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah and those who are with him are strong, uncompromising, harsh and robust against the Kuffaar; they are compassionate, merciful and kind towards themselves... (Surah Al Fath verse 29)

Has anyone heard that? Let’s say (or) let’s concede for just a second that OK- seventy three division or seventy three factions is who we are in this world- now what do you do? Turn around and begin to cut down all of the rest of the factions? You kill them? What happened to

رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ

… they are compassionate, merciful and kind towards themselves... (Surah Al Fath verse 29)

What happened the ayah? (It) flies away from the mind to accommodate the dubious statement like this? The Prophet of Allah is predicting all of his Ummah is in the fire? But it takes thought and these types of Masajid that are financed all around the world don’t want you to think. Don’t think! That’s the message that goes out from these khutbahs every Jum’ah and when we have Muslims who don’t think we have Muslims who can be led very easily to their slaughter house by other Muslims. It is unfolding in front of our own eyes. There are a lot of these slaughter houses in different countries. Can you see them? But try to understand where the source of this problem emanates from. Where is the source? You will inevitably be led to these self righteous holier than thou religious functionaries financed and supported by the Saudi regime. If we’re incorrect on this anyone can correct us on this. We’re accessible. We are here in the street. But as time goes by and as we have raised the alarm before, these Saudis continue to get away with murder and mayhem because of the religiously supervised and the religiously instigated ignorance every Jum’ah, every Eid, every lecture (and) every conference that they sponsor or that they finance and to us- we have Allah. We have no one and nothing else.

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